A new optical atomic clock’s heart is as small as a coffee bean

The timepiece uses light that ‘beats’ trillions of times per second

atomic clock

PETITE TIMEPIECE  The heart of a new miniature atomic clock (shown next to a coffee bean for scale) is a vapor cell (square window on the chip) containing rubidium atoms that “tick” about 385 trillion times per second.

M.T. Hummon/NIST

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